This year's Vigil of Remembrance was the sixth to be led by District Attorney Capeless, who carries on the tradition of honoring lives lost at the hands of drunk drivers. The late District Attorney Gerard D. Downing began the tradition in 1998.
As the names of 40 people who lost their lives to drunk drivers were read, family member lit candles in their honor. "This annual ceremony helps keep us connected with people who have lost loved ones," Capeless said following the vigil.
The names remain on the list, and Capeless said, "Unfortunately, we keep adding names." Each year since 2002, Lynda Sherman lights a candle in the name of her daughter, Barbara LaFrance, who was hit by a drunk driver. Ms. LaFrance remained in a coma for five years, passing away in 2007.
Community involvement is important to this event. Students from Pittsfield and Hoosac Valley High Schools offered readings and vocalist Marissa Massery performed selections during the vigil. Troopers Jean Thibodeau and Brian Berkel of the Massachusetts State Police stood guard during the ceremony, lighting candles when a family member could not.